MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Imagine holding your breath long enough to where your brain is begging you to breathe. Now imagine having to become comfortable with the feeling for two weeks. That’s what the Marines of 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion are doing as they participate in a physically and mentally draining pre-dive training course aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., Aug. 17 through 28, 2015.
The Marines participating in the course are preparing for the Marine Combatant Diver Course at the Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center, Panama City, Fla., scheduled for later this year, said Sgt. Collin Johansen, a student at the pre-dive course and Marine with 2nd Recon Bn.
The reconnaissance Marines spend multiple hours every day in both pools and open-water preparing for the dive school.
“It’s always good to get back in the water as a Force Reconnaissance Marine,” Johansen said. “Amphibious reconnaissance is one of our mission essential tasks and there’s no better way to prepare and be comfortable for the aquatic environment than pre-dive.”
The Marines are testing their limits both physically and mentally as the course goes on.
“The hardest part about pre-dive is the mental challenge because when you’re underwater on a breath hold, your body naturally wants air,” Johansen said. “We’re not designed to be in the water so it’s overcoming the mental challenge of ‘do I need to breathe? Do I need oxygen?’ and once you overcome that you start to acclimatize to not breathing so often and you’re much more comfortable in the water.”
Corporal Darius Moussavi, a pre-dive course instructor with 2nd Recon. Bn. said they’re going over the proper procedures these students will be utilizing when they go to dive school and that the pre-dive course gives the Marines ample time to develop their skills in the water.
“It’s good right now to get them familiar with the procedures that they’re going to use because this could benefit them in the long run,” Darius said. “If they don’t do these procedures properly, it could be life threatening when at deep depths in the water.”
Only if the pre-dive course is completed successfully will the Marines be granted the opportunity to attend the dive school.
Johansen said upon completion of the pre-dive course the Marines have a six month window to attend the dive school. Then adding “Ultimately, everyone’s goal is to get to dive school as soon as possible after the course.”Story by Cpl. Chelsea Toombs